(2 July 2014, New York) – A first-of-its-kind meeting between the UN Global Compact Board, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Advisory Council, the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Champions Group and ambassadors was held today at UN Headquarters in New York to discuss the historic opportunity that business has to shape and advance the post-2015 development agenda.
The high-level luncheon, co-hosted by the Permanent Representatives of Brazil, Nigeria and Switzerland to the United Nations, was attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and nearly 150 participants, including 30 ambassadors. Remarks and interventions offered by several representatives highlighted a growing recognition by the UN and Member States that responsible business and investors are committed to advancing UN issues and are critical partners in the creation and implementation of a new set of sustainable development goals. Carole Parkes, Director Social Responsibility & Sustainability at Aston Business School, addressed participants on behalf of the PRME Champions.
“Our world’s toughest challenges demand solutions that involve business. No sector alone can slow climate change or reverse biodiversity losses. No single entity can end corruption, poverty and violence, or promote equality, especially for women,” said the Secretary-General. “Success depends on Governments, companies, investors, educators, activists and citizens. Together, we can foster peace and security, protect human rights and achieve sustainable development.”
The Global Compact introduced a paper, "The Role of Business and Finance in Supporting the Post-2015 Agenda," highlighting the role of business and investors in advancing sustainable development goals through responsible business actions. The paper showcases five implementation mechanisms intended to scale up the contribution of the private sector: small- and medium-sized enterprises, partnerships, transparency and accountability, enabling government policies, and private sustainability finance. It also announces a project, in collaboration with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), to develop measurement parameters to monitor, evaluate and upgrade business efforts towards a new set of sustainable development goals. This follows a previous report submitted to the office of the UN Secretary-General in June 2013.
The Secretary-General thanked dedicated companies for “striving to reach greater sustainability performance,” and pointed to the new white paper as an indication that “the pieces are in place to orient business and markets everywhere towards greater sustainability for the post-2015 era.”
The luncheon was held as part of the Global Compact Board meeting, chaired by the Secretary-General. The meeting focused on key priorities for the initiative including its ongoing work to improve good governance, bring corporate sustainability to scale, and advance the role of the private sector in the post-2015 development agenda.
In his remarks to the Board on the initiative’s progress and future, the Secretary-General emphasized that the Global Compact “is the first and only public-private initiative of the United Nations based on network governance. Its unique role and attributes have enabled it to grow and innovate beyond all expectations. The initiative has transitioned to a new phase defined by global strength and action.”